This new court rule approves the use of two bench cards to help judges determine defendants' ability to pay at sentencing and in collections.
This report explains how the California courts’ interest in revenue collection causes a burden of debt for citizens and recommends alternatives to traditional collection methods that raise more revenue while causing less harm.
This report is based on the authors’ research on traffic courts and driver’s license suspension practices in the San Francisco Bay Area. It details how much revenue courts collect from fines and fees, the harmful impacts those fees have on low-income Californians, and also advances several policy reform recommendations.
In late 2016, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors directed the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector to create a Fines and Fees Task Force (staffed by the Treasurer’s Financial Justice Project) to study the impact of fines and fees on San Franciscans & propose relevant reforms. About six months later, the Task Force published this initial report in order to provide an overview of fines and fees in San Francisco as well as an array of reform recommendations.
The Criminal Justice Debt Reform Builder is an online tool that allows users to quickly explore and assess fines and fees reform statutes in all 50 states.
This report from the Berkeley Policy Advocacy Clinic details California counties’ practice of assessing and collecting fees from families with youth in the California juvenile justice system. California abolished juvenile fees in 2018.
Rebellious lawyering empowers those affected by the issue to come up with solutions to their own problems. It should be a collective effort between the lawyers and legal services clients and community members from grassroots organizing groups.
In this report, the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force investigated Oklahoma’s exploding incarceration rates and the judicial policies that contribute to prison overcrowding. The Task Force used their analysis to develop 27 policy recommendations aimed at improving public safety by reducing recidivism and reforming sentencing policies.
This bench card, which can be modified for state and local jurisdictions, advises judges on how to sanction indigent defendants for nonpayment of fines and fees without resorting to incarceration, outlines procedural protections for defendants who are unable to pay, and outlines standards for determining indigence.
This article focuses on a potential reform with increasing bipartisan support: the graduation of economic sanctions according to a person’s financial circumstances, also known as "day fines" or "means-adjusted fines."